First of, I’d like to say, I do not hate feminism. In fact, I like to consider myself a feminist. I believe in equity, not equality. I believe women have the right to their bodies, to their minds and to their own lives. I do not believe a woman’s place is in the kitchen, or a man’s bed. I do not believe women should have to work three times as hard for a fraction of the pay, and none of the recognition.
I also do not believe men are evil. I do not think a woman who is sexually promiscuous is detrimental to women everywhere. I do not believe a woman should be shamed for choosing to be a stay at home mother, rather than a working mom.
I also do not believe that people understand the Wonder Woman is both a symbol of sexuality and feminism.
Are you aware that the creator of Wonder Woman, William Marston, was a psychologist? Well, he was. And he was also a poly-amorous man with both a wife and a girlfriend that he loved. He had children with them both, and they participated in BDSM type activities.
Their relationship was built upon women’s empowerment and embracing their sexuality. This is probably why Diana is bisexual, as recently confirmed for those who couldn’t figure it out. And those pretty golden bracelets? The cuffs that can deflect freaking bullets? THEY. ARE. SYMBOLIC. OF. BDSM. CUFFS.
“Oh, how can that be? She’s such a strong female character!”
Which means… what? She can’t kick ass and be confident in her own body? Be proud of it? Enjoy sex?
I know peeps. A woman who enjoys sex? Ha! What a lack of respect. Let’s forget that feminism is BASED ON A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE. Whether she chooses a nunnery or a street corner, feminism is the corner stone on which that choice should be accepted.
Wonder Woman is a strong character. She’s an Amazonian princess. She could hand Batman his ass. (Sorry Bats.) She does not need a man to protect her, or to fight her battles for her. She’s dang near a goddess. But that does not mean she can’t wear skimpy clothes, or that she can’t have romantic interests. These things make her human. They’re a part of her origin. And more importantly:
Being confident in her sexuality should not make her less of a heroine to young girls.
This brings me to my next point. Recently on Twitter, I discovered a copy of the Wonder Woman poster. Someone had edited out Chris Pine from the background.
“There. I fixed it.”
Silly woman I am, I had no idea it was broken.
I’m not saying the editor was wrong. I am, however, saying that this implies having a supporting character in the background that’s male, is detrimental to Wonder Woman. I understand that this is her first movie. I understand what she symbolizes. But to believe a male supporting lead, romantic or not, is detracting from the badassness that is W.W. is ignorant to me.
Look at these posters from other superhero movies.
They all have supporting members on them. But notice Legends of Tomorrow, Thor and Iron Man? They have women. Women that are just as important as Steve Trevor. L.O.T. has the female in the background, significantly smaller than the male lead. The other two? Yeah, they’re front and center. Being protected and shielded by the men, like they can’t stand on their own two feet.
And that’s okay. Some women are like that. But the point is, no one is throwing a fit over that. No, the issue is that a dude is on a Wonder Woman poster. Because she’s a woman, she should get special treatment? She should be highlighted? She should be a standalone? From where I sat when I watched the trailers, and from the stories I’ve read, isn’t Steve Trevor a pretty big part of her origin? I know some people will point out that Lois Lane isn’t on the Man of Steel poster… but I don’t actually feel she’s a huge part of that. I don’t feel like she carries the same amount of weight in the movie as Trevor will, but if she was on the poster, I wouldn’t really care either.
Feminism is about choice. It’s about empowering women to make their own choices, to embrace themselves in whatever way they’d like to, as long as it is their choice. I cannot think of a better character than Wonder Woman, who shows you don’t have to sacrifice femininity to be powerful, and to kick ass, you don’t have to be a nun.
You can be strong. You can be sexy. You can kick ass, take names and then put on a dress and go on a date. You can say yes, or no, or maybe. You can even have a man stand by your side while you conquer the world, or you can do it alone. Be barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen. Find new worlds.
Wonder Woman is everything we should be encouraging our daughters to be. It shouldn’t matter if a guy is on her poster. If she dates. If she wears, essentially, a swimsuit. If she kisses the guy first, or punches him out. Wonder Woman is an enigma, based on choices she’s made to suit herself, and no one else.
Not a man on the planet can change that. It would be nice if feminists stopped trying to downplay her as well, simply because the choices she’s made aren’t theirs. Trying to prove she can stand on her own to the point of refusing any male participation in her life is just as bad as saying she cannot do it without them.
Feminism is about telling women they can do it all, their way.